After honeymooning in Singita Lebombo back in 2009 and being blown away, we decided to celebrate our 5 year anniversary at another Singita property and boy are we glad we chose the Grumeti Reserve property. Our visit was in early May and we stayed 2 nights at Sabora and 2 nights at Faru Faru and we visited Sasakwa for lunch on our last day.
Let me just say that neither words nor pictures would do this magical place justice. It is by far the most amazing place I've ever been to in my life. From the service to the décor, the cuisine, the architecture, the game drives...etc...no one does it like Singita.
Sabora Tented Camp:
Each lodge was unique and different from the other. Sabora Tented Camp are 9 luxuriously decorated tents that calling them “tents” is an understatement, yet rugged and wild that maintains the feeling of being right in the middle of the bush. We were in tent #9 which is the last tent to the left of the reception area. Even though we had a corner tent, we felt that all tents here are adequately separated from each other to provide total privacy and having the same view of the Sabora plains. Being situated at ground level in the middle of the Sabora plains you get to see the game right in front the tents deck. We saw Giraffes, Impalas, Buffalos, Wildebeests, even a Cheetah on one occasion drinking from the pond in front of the camp. At night you sleep to the sound of all kinds of insects, frogs, hyenas whooping, lions roaring, and I was told in some cases buffalos getting right up to the tent and rubbing their horns on the side of the tent. Yes it is that wild. We didn’t expect it to be this wild. It is so wild that there’s a night shift security guy scanning the plains with a flashlight all night long. Did I mention it was wild! Nevertheless, these sounds were music to my ears and I slept like a baby but drove the fear into my wife that she couldn’t sleep for two nights! I even caught her in the middle of the night Googling “Security at Sabora Camp” Hahahaha!! The staff here were great and made us feel right at home from the moment we arrived. On our anniversary, we were given a surprise candle lit dinner in front of our tent. The whole area was decorated with candles, lanterns and a bonfire pit. It was beautiful. Thank you to camp manager Wilson, Grace, Apollo, the rest of the staff and of course the Chef for the delicious cuisines and especially the Arabic mezza he prepared us.
Faru Faru Lodge:
After two nights at Sabora (and to my wife’s relief hehehe!) we moved to Faru Faru which was more of a modern/chic boutique lodge. Some of the décor and feel reminded me a lot of Lebombo lodge in South Africa. Unlike Sabora, the lodge is situated on a hill giving an elevated view of the river and the reserve. We were in room #4 which is the first room to the right of the reception area. The rooms to the right (#1 to #4) face the two manmade ponds which sees a lot of game coming in for a drink. The rooms to the left of the reception area (#5 and above) get a beautiful view of the Grumeti river. My advice is since you will be spending most of your time at the reception/pool/restaurant area which gets a view of the same pond that rooms 1 to 4 gets and does not get a direct view of the river like rooms 5 and above, then I would suggest requesting a room to the left so you get to experience the view of the Grumeti river. This way you’re not missing out. We visited Room #7 and the view was amazing (Check the pics to see the difference between the two room views). A special thanks to Amiri, Madeline and the rest of the staff at Faru Faru.
On our last day Madeline, lodge manager at Faru Faru suggested that we visit Sasakwa lodge to get to see the place before we depart. So on our way to the airstrip we stopped there for lunch. The first impression you get is a sense of grandeur and opulence. Sasakwa is situated right on top of the highest hill in the area giving a breathtaking view of the Grumeti/Serengeti. Only here would you really appreciate the vastness of the Serengeti plains. No pictures or words can do it justice. Upon arrival we were received by the lodge manger and taken on a tour of the property. All rooms have the same elevated view of the plains. Rooms also have private outdoor plunge pools to enjoy the view. The overall décor had a colonial feel to it. I felt like I was inside in an Ernest Hemingway novel. It should be mentioned that with the different categories of rooms, Sasakwa is ideal to accommodate families. Also the place has a fully equipped gym, several boutique/souvenir shops, spa, etc. Anything you want they have it here. Still, unless you experience it you won’t be able to imagine the majesty and luxury of this place.
The Game Drives (applies to all properties):
The game drives were like nothing we imagined. Having already experienced safaris in the Kruger National Park we had a certain level of expectation but we were blown away with the amount and quality of game you see here and how vast the Grumeti/Serengeti area is. Our guide Anthony was simply awesome. His knowledge of the area and the animals was tremendous and his energy and passion as a guide is second to none. He took us on a game drive a soon as we arrived at the Singita airstrip even before checking in, to go and try to spot a leopard and within 40 minutes we found a beautiful male leopard resting up a tree.
The amount of animals you see here at the Grumeti Reserve is truly amazing. At one spot I looked around by doing a 360 degree turn and saw a journey of giraffes, a couple hyenas, impalas, topi, ostriches running, a herd of buffalo, jackals in the distance, and a family of warthogs. During our stay we also had four sightings of cheetahs, a mother with 3 cubs, 2 sightings of a single male, and a mother with a single cub that made a baby impala kill in front of us!! We also saw two factions of the Nyasirori lion pride. Apparently this pride had split up due to competition over food and to protect the cubs. One pride had 3 females and 7 cubs and the breakaway pride had 4 females and 10 younger cubs.
Unfortunately, one thing to note about the Grumeti Reserve that there are no Rhinos. Sadly they all have been hunted and poached out over the decades prior to Singita taking over management of the land. So don’t expect to see Rhinos.
The biggest surprise was that the famous wildebeest migration which usually starts arriving at the Grumeti by mid-June started coming in early May (May 2nd to be exact)…six weeks early!! And within the next couple of days the whole area was covered with wildebeest. When I booked this trip I was a bit sad that I was sure we were going to miss the migration by a few weeks, so you can imagine our astonishment to unexpectedly experience this phenomenon. What a bonus that was!!
Visiting during the low season (Long-Rains):
Don’t even hesitate to consider going during the low season AKA “Long-Rains”. The lodges have a minimal number guests and most likely you’ll be the only ones in the Land Rover. We had the liberty to choose when to leave for game drives. Typically you’re off at 6 am and back for breakfast at around 9:30. But one morning we opted to have a breakfast first and left a bit later and didn’t return until lunchtime. At Sabora there were only two occupied tents…us and another couple of ladies. Faru Faru had more guests the day we arrived but they all checked out the next and were the only ones at the lodge. I don’t even recall seeing any guests at Sasakwa either. Not sure if this is a good thing cuz we like to meet people and share our safari stories with them. But if you’re looking for extra privacy then consider the low season. We saw Bill Gates’ signature in the guestbook and came find out that he once booked the entire Sabora Camp for himself…we had the same experience by booking only one room hehehe!!! Also in terms of game viewing we saw everything we wanted to see…lions, cheetahs, a leopard, Buffalos, Kori Bustard, elephants and much much more, so you won’t miss out.
We expected it be wet most of the time but the area has been experiencing unusual dry weather, which might explain why the migration arrived early. We didn’t have a single drop of rain during our stay. Not sure if this was a good thing…I’m sure the land needed the rain but we had the most beautiful sunny and partially cloudy blue skies. I even had a deeper tan than the one I got in the Maldives!! But I believe we were lucky with the weather to be honest.
To wrap up this long review, I just want to say that I would not recommend one lodge over the other. They are all different and equally as beautiful and spectacular in their own way. It all depends on taste. If you want to have a unique experience and be in the middle of the action then Sabora is for you. If you’re looking for a trendy and comfy lodge then Faru Faru should be your choice. Sasakwa in my opinion is for the older generation and families. Best of all do what we did and visit all three.
Singita, you touch the earth lightly and touched our hearts greatly…we will return!
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- Also Known As:
- Singita Sabora Tented Camp Hotel Serengeti National Park